We need to transform passion for videogames into a desire to make them, report says

New website aims to promote game development to kids

e-Skills UK has launched a ‘Gaming Month’ on its digital careers website, BigAmbition.

The government funded body wants to promote careers the gaming industry to young people. This follows a report which reveals British schools are failing to teach students the skills needed to thrive in our growing digital industries.

Released today, the Livingstone-Hope Review reveals that although the UK games industry generates £2 billion in global sales per year, it could turnover an extra £1 billion by 2014 if our education standards are improved.

The video game industry has an average 10.6 per cent predicted growth per year between 2010 and 2014, compared to the 6.6 per cent for other media and digital industries.

The review found that the National Curriculum does not give students the opportunity to learn the skills required to work in videogames production.

Ian Livingstone, president of Eidos and co-author of the report believes there is a worrying lack of emphasis on the digital arts in the UK education system, he said:

“Videogames production plays to the UK’s twin strengths of creativity and high-technology and ticks all the boxes for the digital economy. But despite young people being passionate about videogames, they are unaware that games such as Grand Theft Auto and SingStar were developed in the UK and unaware of the career opportunities in the UK.

“We need to transform young people’s passion to play videogames into a desire to make them, whilst equipping them with the right skills for the industry. In the brave new online world, a second ‘golden age’ for the UK games industry beckons. It’s an opportunity which shouldn’t be missed.”

The report also recommends that computer science be taught alongside core subjects like science and maths. 

The review also calls for a rethink in higher education.

Of 1578 university students studying games development at in the 2008/9 academic year, only 189 went on to find employment in the industry.

Alex Hope, co-author of the review, said: “far too many UK universities draw in students with a prospectus that doesn’t reflect the needs of the industry.”

On the BigAmbition website, budding game developers will find video interviews with 16 industry professionals from studios like Electronic Arts, PlayGen and Mind Candy, creators of Moshi Monsters.

Kam Star of PlayGen, said: "The gaming industry is an exciting, fast paced environment to work in and is a great career choice for any young person interested in technology."

You can read the Livingston-Hope Review in full at MCV.

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